Skills for Being a Playwright


Writing plays requires more than a vivid imagination and a way with words. Playwrights also need strong organizational skills and an understanding of logic, so they can devise structurally sound plotlines and keep track of the characters and actions in their works. To make a living as playwrights, they also need the ability to promote their work and make connections within the theatre community.

Creative Skills

  • Playwrights must understand how to depict action in a way that audiences understand and will respond to. This includes creating realistic dialogue. Playwrights must know how to bring all of the elements together to create a unified and engaging work of art. The various elements, such as dialogue, action and setting, don’t exist independently. Instead, they must all work together to create a cohesive piece. For example, stimulating dialogue won’t work if it’s accompanied by a lackluster plot. Playwrights also need to know how to conduct research. When writing about a character with mental illness, for example, the playwright might read scholarly articles or interview a psychiatrist to gain more insight into the character.

Time Management and Organizational Skills

  • Writing a play requires the ability to organize and keep track of large amounts of information, such as project notes, character studies, research material and anything else required to bring the characters and setting to life. These same organizational skills are crucial for making a living as a playwright. Many hold full- or part-time jobs and write plays on the side, hoping to sell or stage their plays on a freelance basis. They must know how to manage their schedules to successfully juggle their work lives and their creative live. They must also know and network with the power players in the theatre community so they can approach them about bringing their work to the stage.

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